Wanting It, Getting It, Keeping It … At What Cost?

All That Glitters . . .

Most people have a list of goals they feel obligated to accomplish. They have assembled a registry of achievements that emerged during different phases of their life. Aspirations that reflect their accumulated hopes and dreams. Desires formed by familial and personal relationships, academic achievements, and career ambitions.

Emerging leaders like to predict their career advancement. They envision the type of leader they will be and the management style they will emulate. They measure success by formidable titles, impressive offices, luxury automobiles, and personal wealth.

Seldom do these promising managers imagine how they will survive their ascension. They forget the responsibilities and stress that accompanies success. They neglect the personal sacrifices and penalties of pursuing these goals. They prepare only for the getting but not for the giving.

. . . Is Not Gold

When tallying power, and possessions, only a fool neglects the other side of the balance sheet. These accolades and acquisitions can levy a heavy toll. It is wise to calculate their current and future costs before becoming indebted to them.

Desiring status and strength has a hidden cost few remember to tabulate. Idolization has a tariff. Fame creates jealousy. Force creates opposition. Fortune creates envy. All achievements have a price. The costs of success incurred on the way up lingers long after the goal is attained.

Many find that they cannot enjoy their success. Their ambition possesses them and they continually strive for more. Often when they do not even know what “more” might look or feel like. They secure a goal and do not recognize their achievement. There is always more. Or, is there?

More . . .

Once an ambitious manager reaches the top of their organization. What then? Focusing on the climb, they have not pondered or planned for what success feels like. They don’t know how to enjoy their accomplishments. They don’t know the feeling of contentment.

If they cannot find pleasure and satisfaction in reaching the top, they will soon discover the anxiety of trying to preserve their power. They will learn to dread losing their influence and fear the humiliation of their downfall.

. . . Is Less

Can a leader forsake amassing power and riches and still be respected? Can they turn their back on how modern society measures success and discover personal happiness? Is it possible to stop living and working by someone else’s expectations and standards and look within to discover what is truly important?

Wise leaders know themselves, their truth, and their purpose. They have the self-knowledge and self-control to know when they are content. They put aside expectations. They find happiness not in society’s desires but in the position, status, and things they have.

If Not Now . . .

How does the successful leader know when to stop? Insightful leaders know themselves and are mindful of what is happening around them. This conscious self-awareness allows them to detach from desire and cast aside hubris for external power and glory.

Enlightened leaders refine their inner selves. They are benevolent in their thoughts and actions. They acknowledge cultural differences and work to find the commonality in all people. They promote mutual respect and a cooperative environment.

They do not feign sincerity or flaunt their values. They do not rationalize injustices or talk about the greater good. They simply maintain a mindful wonderment of life and are honest in all their dealings. They encourage balance in every aspect of their professional and personal life.

. . . When

The wise and joyful leader gives up the illusion of success as defined by others. They acknowledge it is a facade and they do not aspire to chase it. They seek only to know themselves and find the secret to inner fulfillment and personal happiness. They understand that self-mastery leads to true contentment.

They stop when it is time for them to stop.